Iran stops wheat imports, plans exports
Iran announced on Thursday that it has stopped importing wheat because of high domestic production and that it even plans to export durum wheat by March 2016.
“Due to high domestic production of wheat, we have stopped importing wheat,” Deputy Agriculture Minister Ali Qanbari has been quoted by the media as saying.
“We have purchased a total of 8.08 million tons of high-quality wheat from farmers as of March 2015 through the guaranteed purchased scheme and an overall amount of Rials 95 trillion ($3.1 billion) has already been paid to them,” Mehr news agency has quoted Qanbari as saying.
The official further emphasized that the country plans to export about 300,000 metric tons of durum wheat by April 2016.
He had said last month that the amount purchased from farmers was enough to meet the domestic demand, stressing that the strategic reserves of the crucial crop are presently full enough to support the bakeries.
Iran has turned into a major wheat importer over the past decade after seeing its population grow to over 80 million and a lingering drought sharply reduce harvest.
The country’s self-sufficiency drive for wheat production is on the rocks amid the drought, which is putting strains on water reserves.
Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Germany, Australia and Canada are the countries from which Iran usually buys wheat.
Traders had said on 5 October that Iran was looking to barter some 200,000 tons of Iranian-produced new crop durum wheat for at least 250,000 tons of imported milling wheat, Reuters added.